The Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society, Hammerfest

(4.5/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web)
The Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society is a small museum in the town of Hammerfest, Norway. The significance of the polar bear is that this animal is the town's mascot and heraldic crest.For all its remoteness, Hammerfest has a long history as a trading port, and Isbjørnklubben as it is called in Norwegian - meaning simply Polar Bear Club - sets out to commemorate this. In the museum's single room are a variety of mementos of the early life of Hammerfest, including a profusion of stuffed animals, early Arctic hunting, traveling and camping equipment, and a gallery of photographs, paintings, drawings and writings of and from the town's history. The depict the town as it was in previous centuries, showing that as far back as the seventeenth century CE, this tiny town was a nexus for travelers and traders in the far north and a meeting point for the isolated people of North Norway, traders sailing up from southern Europe and hunters and traders coming west from the Arctic Ocean and Russia.Founded in 1963 by two local businessmen, the Polar Bear Club is not particularly ancient. Primarily, it is a somewhat jokey amenity for tourists. Although entrance to the actual museum is for a nominal charge, visitors are encouraged to join the Society, which is rewarded with a membership pack, the contents of which include a certificate, a sticker, a hat, a membership card and a lapel pin. Since the only way to join is in person at the museum, this pin signifies as proof of visiting this remote place.
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  • Went here on a hurtigruten cruise. It was great. Very informative and they can even stamp your passport with the hammerfest as it's the worlds most northern most town! 
  • Like many others we stopped here on a Hurtigruten trip. This free to enter attraction has many things to offer including information about the history of Hammerfest and how people live, thrive and sur...  more »
  • To be fair this is probably only rated so highly as there is little else in Hammerfest and as it's right next to The Hurtigruten mooring it's very easy to visit. But it's still interesting and worth a...  more »
  • Very interesting museum! If you wanna be a member of the Society, you must get in to the museum! The membership to the society was denied to Elvis Presley because he didn't come to Hammerfest in person.
  • Best place to visit in Hammerfest. Join the Polar Bear Society and become an supporter of the club.
  • Very impressive exabition that we visited back in 1999 or 2000. I became a lifetime member but was not able to visit yearly congress
  • A very impressive, interesting museum.Didn't have time enough to see all the objects and to read the manuscripts. Purchased a fantastic book on West-Finnmark and became member of the Polar Bear Society! A MUST and not to be missed! Love to re-visit one day....
  • Amazing place